Commercial launch of ‘revolutionary’ ReZorce packaging gathers momentum

MOMENTUM is gathering on the commercial launch of the ‘revolutionary’ Rezorce mono-material barrier packaging as a debut on supermarket shelves is targeted in the third quarter of 2024, material solutions specialist Zotefoams has announced.

Zotefoams is currently working with Refresco, the world’s largest independent bottler of beverages, for the development and in-market trials of ReZorce in beverage carton applications.

ReZorce is currently being commercialised as an HDPE mono-material alternative to liquid packaging board beverage cartons, featuring a layered structure that offers barrier properties comparable with those of multi-material aseptic packaging used widely in the food and beverage sector but with ‘outstanding’ recyclability.

The structure is described as enabling the incorporation of post-consumer recyclate in the core of the material with virgin polymer on the outer surfaces, meaning ReZorce beverage cartons simultaneously meet food safety regulations and deliver against the targets for recycled content set out in the EU Packaging & Packaging Waste Directive.

At an exclusive event held in Amsterdam last week, a global audience of packaging press and professionals was told of the ‘significant’ progress made on the project, with ReZorce cartons now being produced at one of Refresco’s facilities in Europe with a machine designed for traditional composite beverage cartons, modified with a proprietary change parts kit. The companies are also initiating quality and compliance testing procedures required for commercial production of beverage carton applications.

Neil Court-Johnston, president of Zotefoams’ MuCell Extrusion LLC business unit, which produces the microcellular foaming technology used in the manufacture of ReZorce, spoke about the journey from concept to commercialisation of this product.

He said, “The traditional beverage carton was launched in the 1950s and its design is fundamentally the same today. The barrier properties of ReZorce lend themselves to a number of packaging applications but we chose to focus on beverage cartons because we could not see anyone, anywhere, trying to deliver circularity. With around 250 billion beverage cartons used worldwide each year, this is a big problem.

“The annual Ellen MacArthur Foundation report is a stark illustration of the challenges FMCG manufacturers face in meeting their waste and carbon reduction targets, which can be attributed in part to the complex nature of some types of packaging.

“However, where beverage cartons are concerned, we believe ReZorce is the solution: peer-reviewed life cycle assessments show that a 1-litre ReZorce beverage carton uses half the energy and water required for a traditional liquid packaging board carton, and has a global warming potential that is 55% lower. What’s more, it meets all current and impending legislation driving towards a more circular economy.”

Zotefoams also announced that an agreement had been made with Südpack Verpackungen SE & Co. KG, a leader in polymer extrusion, to provide a potential capacity of up to 100 million ReZorce cartons annually.

Mr Court-Johnston added that  Zotefoams has created what he termed ‘a coalition for better beverage cartons’, bringing together leading companies in extrusion, print, conversion, filling, packing and recycling with the aim of delivering ReZorce to market as a circular, and potentially closed loop, alternative to the current composite beverage carton.

Dirk Hardow, chief executive, functional films and compounds at Südpack, said, “With our functional film, we will be contributing to the production of a packaging concept that will fulfil the requirements of the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive in terms of recyclability and recycled content.”

Zotefoams Group CEO David Stirling commented, “The announcements we have made today are indicative of the gathering momentum on this project. We are proud that Refresco, a world leader in its field, has recognised the potential of ReZorce and has partnered with us to accelerate its commercial launch.

“We are delighted to have reached this milestone, which clearly demonstrates that ReZorce is progressing well towards becoming a fully commercialised product that is scalable with existing infrastructure.

“Retailers and brand owners understand the need for a sustainable alternative to LPB cartons and ReZorce meets that need: it is fully recyclable via mainstream collections, contains recycled material in line with the thresholds set out in the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive and has a lower carbon footprint.”

Packaging Scotland was in attendance at the event held at Amsterdam’s Soho House. Exclusive interviews with David Stirling and Neil Court-Johnston will feature in the July edition of the magazine.